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Affective-News Theory: Effects of Narrative Structure on Suspense, Curiosity, and Enjoyment While Reading News and Novels
Unformatted Document Text:  News Narratives 5 More importantly here, a narrative that is to produce suspense has a linear organization in which event and discourse structure are parallel, as the narrative presents the events in chronological order. Therein lies the main difference to narratives that are to evoke curiosity, commonly referred to as mystery stories. According to the structural-affect theory, the event structure of a mystery also features an initiating event in its beginning. Yet the discourse structure omits the information on the initiating event but insinuates this lack of information. In consequence, this omission causes on-lookers’ curiosity that is resolved towards the end of the narrative, when the missing information is provided. Investigations by Brewer and Lichtenstein (1981, 1982) showed that suspense narratives and curiosity narratives (or mysteries) evoked, in fact, either suspense or curiosity and also increased "story liking" compared to other narrative forms that lacked, for instance, the presentation of an outcome. These affective reactions occurred and developed during reading as predicted. Furthermore, their respondents categorized these text structures as ’stories,’ whereas other structures did not qualify in their view. Hence, the structural-affect theory should be applicable to newspaper texts in order to understand their appeal to the audience, an appeal that turns a report into a ’story’ in the journalistic understanding of the term. However, Brewer and Lichtenstein explicitly excluded newspaper articles from their considerations. They differentiated types of discourse based on "discourse force" as a construct (1982, p. 477) that refers to underlying intentions of text design. "[W]ithin the class of narratives: instructions and newspaper articles are primarily designed to inform; propaganda and fables are primarily designed to persuade; while popular stories and novels are primarily designed to entertain" (Brewer & Lichtenstein, 1982, p. 477). Nonetheless, not all texts feature one pure discourse force, as some texts are "deliberately designed to have several forces" (Brewer & Lichtenstein, 1982, p. 477). Therefore, a well-designed news story could inform and entertain at the same time. Unlike fiction authors, journalists are bound to reality when it comes to what is told (event structure), although selection and framing of content, as well as stressing specific aspects, still gives

Authors: Knobloch, Silvia. and Carpentier, Francesca.
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News Narratives 5
More importantly here, a narrative that is to produce suspense has a linear organization in which
event and discourse structure are parallel, as the narrative presents the events in chronological order.
Therein lies the main difference to narratives that are to evoke curiosity, commonly referred to as
mystery stories. According to the structural-affect theory, the event structure of a mystery also features
an initiating event in its beginning. Yet the discourse structure omits the information on the initiating
event but insinuates this lack of information. In consequence, this omission causes on-lookers’ curiosity
that is resolved towards the end of the narrative, when the missing information is provided.
Investigations by Brewer and Lichtenstein (1981, 1982) showed that suspense narratives and
curiosity narratives (or mysteries) evoked, in fact, either suspense or curiosity and also increased "story
liking" compared to other narrative forms that lacked, for instance, the presentation of an outcome.
These affective reactions occurred and developed during reading as predicted. Furthermore, their
respondents categorized these text structures as ’stories,’ whereas other structures did not qualify in
their view. Hence, the structural-affect theory should be applicable to newspaper texts in order to
understand their appeal to the audience, an appeal that turns a report into a ’story’ in the journalistic
understanding of the term.
However, Brewer and Lichtenstein explicitly excluded newspaper articles from their
considerations. They differentiated types of discourse based on "discourse force" as a construct (1982,
p. 477) that refers to underlying intentions of text design. "[W]ithin the class of narratives: instructions
and newspaper articles are primarily designed to inform; propaganda and fables are primarily designed
to persuade; while popular stories and novels are primarily designed to entertain" (Brewer &
Lichtenstein, 1982, p. 477). Nonetheless, not all texts feature one pure discourse force, as some texts
are "deliberately designed to have several forces" (Brewer & Lichtenstein, 1982, p. 477). Therefore, a
well-designed news story could inform and entertain at the same time.
Unlike fiction authors, journalists are bound to reality when it comes to what is told (event
structure), although selection and framing of content, as well as stressing specific aspects, still gives


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